Apollinaire Blinds Us With Science with Provocative ‘Informed Consent’


by Mike Hoban


Informed Consent – Written by Deborah Zoe Laufer; Directed by Dale J. Young; Set Design by Jessica Pizzut; Sound Design by Camilo Atehortua; Costume Design by Elizabeth Rocha; Lighting Design by Danielle Fauteux Jacques. Presented by the Apollinaire Theatre Company at the Chelsea Theatre Works, 189 Winnisimmet St., Chelsea through March 12.


Informed Consent, the unsettling and thought-provoking work now being staged by Apollinaire at the Chelsea Theatre Works, is – on the surface – about finding the middle ground between science and belief systems that may or may not serve a greater purpose for those that hold them. But it is, at its core, a very human story. Powered by an affecting performance by Becca A. Lewis, it is a compelling tale of how rigidly applying science and logic devoid of any real humanness can complicate rather than solve complex problems. It is also a very human story of how fear-driven behavior can cripple one’s ability to connect with the rest of the universe in a meaningful way.

Read more “Apollinaire Blinds Us With Science with Provocative ‘Informed Consent’”

Timely Relevance with Brecht on Brecht


By Michele Markarian


‘Brecht on Brecht’ – Written by Bertolt Brecht. Arranged by George Tabori, from various translations. Co-produced with Boston Center for American Performance. Directed by Jim Petosa; Music Direction by Matthew Stern; Scenic Design by Ryan Bates; Costume Design by Alyssa Korol; Lighting Design by Bridget K. Doyle. Presented at the Black Box Theater at the New Repertory Theatre, 321 Arsenal Street, Watertown through March 5.


Two men and two women rush out of the wings, wearing red clown noises and pushing a shopping cart. They babble and chant slogans relevant to today (…”nevertheless, she persisted”.  “No war”, etc) before bringing onstage a man in tails (music director and accompanist Matthew Stern) to the piano. “What the heck IS this?” I thought somewhat crankily, before settling in to the very entertaining, often moving, and frighteningly timely kaleidoscope of Bertolt Brecht and his writing, expertly directed by Jim Petosa.

Read more “Timely Relevance with Brecht on Brecht”

Arts Emerson’s ‘Beauty Queen’ of Leenane’ is a Tragicomic Masterpiece


By Mike Hoban


Beauty Queen of Leenane – Written by Martin McDonagh; Directed by Garry Hynes; Set & Costume Design by Francis O’Connor; Lighting Design by James F. Ingalls; Sound Design by Greg Clarke; Original Music Composed by Paddy Cunneen. Presented by the Druid Theatre Company of Galway at Emerson/Paramount Center’s Robert J. Orchard Stage by ArtsEmerson, at 559 Washington St., Boston through February 26th


Loneliness is a disease. It will gnaw at you like a cancer, and much like the disease of addiction, it can force you to abandon your basic human principles just to stave off that horrible feeling of emptiness. That point is driven home with both laughter and pathos in the “The Beauty Queen of Leenane” the tragicomic masterpiece now playing at the main stage of Emerson College’s Paramount Center. The play, which won multiple Tony Awards as well as a slew of ‘Best Play’ accolades when it made its debut on Broadway in 1998, is now in the midst of a twentieth-anniversary tour by Galway’s Druid Theatre Company, which swings through LA, New York, Boston, Pittsburgh, and Ann Arbor before heading to the Hong Kong Arts Festival in mid-March.


Read more “Arts Emerson’s ‘Beauty Queen’ of Leenane’ is a Tragicomic Masterpiece”



Reviewed by Tony Annicone


Trinity Rep’s current show is Shakespeare’s romantic comedy “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” It was suggested by “The Knight’s Tale” from Geoffrey Chaucer’s “The Canterbury Tales” and was written between 1594 to 1596. This version is set at a 1986  Spring High School dance.

Read more “Trinity Rep’s “A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM””

Wheelock’s ‘Billy Elliott’ – the Next Best Thing to Broadway


By Michele Markarian


Billy Elliott the Musical, Music by Elton John, Book and Lyrics by Lee Hall. Directed by Susan Kosoff. Presented by Wheelock Family Theatre, 200 The Riverway, Boston, MA, through February 26.


This winter, you can take Amtrak or the GoBus to New York City to see one of the many fabulous musicals there that grace Broadway. Or you can make it easy on yourself by taking the D line to Wheelock Family Theatre to catch “Billy Elliott the Musical”. You won’t be disappointed.  From the sets to the choreography to the exceptional cast, “Billy Elliott” is a show that should not be missed.


Read more “Wheelock’s ‘Billy Elliott’ – the Next Best Thing to Broadway”

Company One’s ‘Really’ a Painfully Brilliant Work of Art

Rachel Cognata and Kippy Goldfarb in REALLY (photo by Paul Fox)


Really – Written by Jackie Sibblies Drury; Directed by Shawn LaCount; Costume Design by Amanda Mujica; Lighting Design by Jason Fok Scenic & Properties Design by Ben Lieberson; Sound Design by Lee Schuna. Presented by Company One Theatre in Partnership with Matter & Light Fine Art, a gallery in SoWa, 450 Harrison Ave., Boston through March 12.



There’s a touchingly beautiful song by Jackson Browne called “Fountain of Sorrow,” which begins with the songwriter stumbling across some photographs of an old girlfriend and remembering what their time together was like. In the song, he’s struck by one of the pictures of  her that he knows she may not have liked as much as the others, but that showed her “true” spirit, including a “a trace of sorrow in (her) eyes” – that forces him to realize “what I was seeing wasn’t what was happening at all” in the relationship.


Read more “Company One’s ‘Really’ a Painfully Brilliant Work of Art”

“AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS” (Rhode Island Stage Ensemble)

Reviewed by Tony Annicone


Rhode Island Stage Ensemble’s current show is “Around the World in 80 Days” which is based on Jules Verne’s 1873 novel and this version is written by Mark Brown. In 1872, on a gentleman’s wager, Phileas Fogg and his French manservant, Passepartout attempt to traverse the globe in just eighty days. Fogg is an adventurer who bets he can circumnavigate the world in 80 days or less. The two of them encounter strange new countries, colorful and at times hostile characters, and even love.

Read more ““AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS” (Rhode Island Stage Ensemble)”

“ROMANTIC COMEDY” (Newport Playhouse)

Reviewed by Tony Annicone


Newport Playhouse’s first show of their 34th season is “Romantic Comedy” by Bernard Slade. The show is centered on Jason Carmichael, an arrogant, self centered and sharp tongued successful co-author of romantic comedies. He is faced with two momentous events: he supposed to marry a society belle and his collaborator is retiring. Enter mousey Phoebe Craddock who quickly becomes his new collaborator. Fame and success flourish for ten years and then Jason goes into a tailspin when his world is changed. Phoebe gets married and moves to Paris with her new journalist husband. But will Phoebe return to New York to get back together with Jason? And if so will it be happily ever after. Director Anne Mulhall casts these six roles wonderfully and elicits strong performances from her hard working performers.

Read more ““ROMANTIC COMEDY” (Newport Playhouse)”

“MURDER AT THE HOWARD JOHNSON’S” (2nd Story Theatre, Warren, RI)

Reviewed by Tony Annicone


The latest show at 2nd Story Theatre is “Murder at the Howard Johnson’s” by Sam Bobrick and Ron Clark. The show is a light fast pace suspense comedy about a love-triangle between a husband, Paul Miller, his wife, Arlene and their dentist, Mitchell Lovell, at the Howard Johnson’s Motor Inn. It is a three scene play which takes place at Christmas, July 4th and New Year’s Eve. Its many twists and turns during this mixed up mayhem keeps the audience in stitches all night long. Director Ed Shea keeps the show moving at a rapid fire pace and gives his comic performers a lot of sight gags and shtick to do, giving it the necessary ingredients for the hilarious night of comedy that occurs. The authentic set and lighting is by Max Ponticelli and the gorgeous 1978 costumes are by Ron Cesario.

Michael McAdam plays Paul, the car salesman that Arlene wants to divorce one minute then loves the next. He can’t believe what is happening and allows himself to be tied up in a chair. Then in another scene, he runs around outside on the ledge. Michael is hilarious when he climbs back into the room as if he is still outside on the ledge. Another comic moment is when he realizes he has bird poo on his forehead. Michael also brings KFC chicken for Arlene in this scene while hiding in a closet, waving a gun in the air and spouting lessons he learned in self actualization class. There is a surprise heart attack scare that doesn’t end the way you expect which wins many laughs. He steals many a scene with his wacky antics.

Lara Hakeem plays Arlene, who has her car salesman husband and dentist boyfriend chasing after her throughout the show. Arlene is a dim bulb who can’t chose who she wants to be with which leads her to thoughts of murder. Some of her funniest moments include dressing in a blonde wig while pretending to be a bimbo, pretending to make love on the bed, crawling under the bed and starting to make love with one of her lovers and kissing her lover behind her husband’s back. Lara delivers the goods as this kooky off balance woman and obtains many laughs along the way.

Wayne Kneeland plays the skirt chasing dentist, Mitchell. He is very funny while seducing Arlene and plotting against Paul while saying love conquers everything. Another comic bit is when he spills champagne on Paul’s crotch. Mitchell ties up Paul with Paul’s tie and his tie, makes a noose for the gallows and runs around on the ledge in shorts. He also gets a dose of Novocain in the butt which makes him limp around the room and also is a hoot when he does some disco moves. Another comic gem is when he puts on lipstick to kiss a scarf. So for a funny farce to brighten up these cold winter days, be sure to catch “Murder at the Howard Johnson’s” at 2nd Story Theatre. I have fond memories of this show, having directed it in 1983 and 2014. It will help brighten up your mood with all the political shenanigans going on, too.

MURDER AT THE HOWARD JOHNSON’S (10 February to 12 March)

2nd Story Theatre, 28 Market St, Warren, RI

1(401)847-4200 or www.2ndstorytheatre.com